Check out Season 4 Episode 3 of Clever Combo for three brand new Pioneer decks!
This week was a very exciting week in magic. The banning of Field of the Dead paved the way for an equally linear and oppressive Oko-based Standard, but more importantly, WotC announced a new format. Pioneer!
We covered the basics of Pioneer in our last bonus episode, but JJ simply couldn’t wait to brew up some new decks for this shiny new format. In fact, he made three!
Azorius seems like a very strong color pair for control in Pioneer. The lack of the best blue counterspells from Modern means that cards like Dovin’s Veto and Absorb have a strong foothold for top counterspells. Sphinx’s Revelation is amazing, alongside Supreme Verdict.
Since we’re in UW, I like the idea of going super hard on Instants with the main goal of flipping a Thing in the Ice and/or pumping up a Myth Realized. On the one hand, dropping these on turns 1 and 2 sort of gives away our game plan, but they are also terribly hard to interact with.
A T1 Myth or T2 Thing will be backed up by a full grip of counterspells and cheap cantrips to get the triggers rolling fast and protect our investment. Thing also provides early blocks as long as we’re careful not to get trapped in a combat trick. Myth is also resilient to traditional sweepers which is bad for our opponent and good for us. The addition of a mana sink is nice for those turns where the opponent offers no good counterspell targets.
I enjoy the idea of showing exactly what kind of shenanigans we’re up to and letting the opponent sweat the ticking time bomb.
Dance of the Manse has been on my mind daily since it was spoiled. I’ve built two Standard shells, neither of which felt like they quite got there. But the card is undeniably fun, and unquestionably powerful.
Pioneer offers us a fantastic opportunity to make a really neat deck built around it, by opening up a plethora of powerful enchantments and artifacts, as well as the famed Enchantment Creatures from Theros block.
The spell I felt the most longing for while building a Standard shell was Authority of the Consuls. Backing that up with Search for Azcanta will grind our opponent to a halt while giving us valuable selection, as well as fueling our graveyard for later. Lastly, Pithing Needle ensures our opponent’s prison is complete.
Underworld Coinsmith, Grim Guardian, and Nyx Fleece Ram will provide excellent defense, bolster our life total, and drain the opponent of resources. Trading them in combat is favorable to us, as we can simply re-animate them later with Dance.
Similarly, Gleaming Barrier will give us early protection and possible mana advantage to reach Dance’s demanding need for 8 mana. Chief of the Foundry is mostly a re-animate target, and Noxious Gearhulk ensures a powerful 2-for-1 every time it hits the board.
Having very nearly all our Enchantments and Artifacts doubled as creatures means it’s easy to protect ourselves, and even easier to fill up our graveyard with juicy targets. If the opponent won’t help us do so, we always have Hour of Revelation to clean up the board and set up a next-turn dance.
The ETBs attached to most of our creatures should provide a powerful life swing when we do finally crack off a hefty Dance of the Manse.
Syr Konrad’s Crypt
Syr Konrad, The Grim was another obvious build-around from ELD, but like many others, it felt like it was lacking some key tools to really make it shine. Add to that an oppressive, linear meta, and Pioneer felt like the right home for a deck built around this card.
Moving formats gave us access to the critical Tormod’s Crypt which will allow us a combo-kill on our opponent, assuming we have enough in the yard to finish off their life total. Since it comes at 0 mana, and without concern for summoning sickness, we can theoretically combo as early as turn 4 or 5.
Gilded Goose will help us fix our mana, and hopefully get our combo out a turn early. Stitcher’s Supplier may be the single best self-mill card ever printed, and was sorely missed in building the Standard version of this deck. Add to that Glowspore Shaman, who will also fix a low-land opening hand, and Gorging Vulture and we have a nice clean curve of self-milling creatures.
We can shore up our defenses with the versatile 1-2 combo of Thoughtseize and Assassin’s Trophy. Murderous Rider may be some of the best removal around, but it’s also a creature target for Syr Konrad.
My favorite bit of tech in this deck is Tamiyo, Collector of Tales who serves a variety of purposes. Her static helps protect us from hand attack, her Plus digs for our combo pieces or needed defensive removal all while filling up our yard with targets, and her minus makes sure that any piece we lose we can recover easily. She can even dig a land out of the yard if we need it.
The paranoid in me keeps a copy of Bond of Revival in the main in case our opponent cottons on to our plan and target Konrad with all their removal.
Try out any of these decks, or all of them, and leave us a note on what you think.
Gone Myth-Thing: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/gone-myth-thing/
Syr Konrad’s Crypt: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/syr-konrads-crypt/